If you’re heading off to college for the first time, chances are you’re nervous – for a range of different reasons. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed thinking about having to get to know a new group of people, be challenged by new academic courses, work out finances, and figure out where you’re going to live and what you need to pack.
However, it’s important to keep your morals in check – and ensure that you don’t allow people to undermine your self confidence, or make you question what you think is right, because it is your self confidence that is going to determine how easily you are able to transition into this next phase of your life.
Lectures with hundreds of students can make you feel no bigger than your pencil, whereas smaller classes can also make you feel uncomfortable when it seems as though a few specific students seem to have all the answers. Regardless of what your confidence-draining issue might be, you should find that it’s easier to stand up for what you think is right if you follow these five tips.
1. Don’t Listen to the Negative Voices
No matter how confident you might feel most of the time, everyone has a little part of themselves that seems to whisper defeatist messages into their ear from time to time. When you’re in college, you might find yourself feeling like you’re not as good as other students, or that you’re not smart enough for the classes that you’re in – but the important thing is not to listen to these negative messages.
Remember that your perseverance has gotten you where you are today. If you were unable to learn and adapt in order to succeed, your college probably would not have accepted you in the first place.
When you start to hear negative voices, imagine that they become entrapped in balloons, and send them off. Picture them floating away, never again to come back and bother you.
2. Remember You’re Not Alone
For some reason, every student who heads off to college generally thinks that they’re the only one who’s ever felt isolated or nervous. Studies have actually shown that around a third of college students feel somewhat inadequate during their first semester, and most graduates will tell you from experience that students often have doubts at one time or another about their ability to do the work or accomplish great things.
Don’t allow people to pressure you into doing things that aren’t right for you, and remember to stay focused – no matter how alone you feel. There are other people out there that are in exactly the same position. Don’t feel like blowing off your homework to party with your neighbors? Your roommate might be feeling the exact same way. Choosing to stick to your own beliefs might even end up influencing other people, such as your roommate, to follow your lead.
Keep in mind that people often only hear the loudest voices in the room, and when you remain quiet, your beliefs and opinions are likely to go ignored. If you’re there to advocate for studying over partying, and prefer to practice sensible behavior over drugs and drink, then you might find that you have a positive impact on the people around you and others will follow your lead.
3. Reward yourself for Achievements!
Everyone feels a little better when they get recognition for the things that they’ve done well. Reward yourself where you can for the things that you accomplish – even if it’s as small as getting a good mark on your homework, or turning up to every class on time for a full semester.
Obviously, smaller achievements should come with smaller prizes – such as a slice of pizza or a latte, while larger achievements can be celebrated with something a little more significant. The positive reinforcement should help you to study even harder for your next challenge.
It can even be important to reward yourself for things you chose NOT to do, for example, for avoiding dangerous temptations such as late nights out with friends when you should be studying for an exam. At the end of the day, refusing to engage in these actions means that you’re taking your future seriously – and that’s worth celebrating! If you don’t have cash to splash, there are plenty of frugal ways to reward yourself too!
4. Stop Overwhelming Yourself
If you’ve got a lot of big things to accomplish by the end of the week or the end of the semester, try not to pile it all on yourself at the same time. Many students panic over the idea of writing a fifteen-page essay or research for a final, but if you complete the paper as three five-page essays then it all becomes a great deal easier. Break huge tasks down into smaller ones so that you don’t feel as though they’re crushing you. The same strategy works for studying too!
The more overwhelmed you feel, the more likely you are to turn to different measures to cope – and this could mean ignoring what you think is right in favor of finding a solution that seems faster, or easier. Don’t let yourself be dragged down into an unhealthy mindset.
5. Recognize your Own Courage
Standing up for what you believe and maintaining your self-confidence throughout your schooling and college experience is absolutely essential to helping you carve out a space for yourself in the world. Though sometimes you can feel as though you’re the only person around who is making the right choices, it’s worth knowing that you’re sticking to your principles and following your own ideas of what is going to benefit you in the long-run.
It takes courage to defend your ideas – particularly if they don’t seem to be very popular in a new environment, and you may think that maintaining your self confidence is something of an uphill battle – but persist and you’ll quickly see yourself getting stronger, and building the resilience that you’re going to need to continue succeeding for the rest of your life.
You’re Stronger than You Think
You should never be afraid to stand up for the lessons you’ve been taught in life and the beliefs that you’ve generated for yourself. Remember, for many people college is the perfect time to discover who you’re going to be – so make sure that you’re growing into a person you like and respect.